Hong Kong, 18 October, 2018 – The Hong Kong AI & Data Laboratory Limited (HKAI Lab), jointly established by Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA), SenseTime and the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP), has started operation this month.
The not-for-profit initiative aims to nurture local artificial intelligence and data talent, boost development of technology in Hong Kong and turn the city into a global hub for innovation and creation. The first batch of startups under the Lab’s six-month Accelerator Program moved into HKAI Lab earlier this month as well.
Besides receiving funding of USD100,000 from Alibaba Hong Kong Entrepreneurs Fund, startups have access to A.I. technologies, cloud computing and network resources, as well as working space. They will have the chance to collaborate with Alibaba, SenseTime and other local and overseas enterprises and investors to speed up the commercialization of their projects.
“Having an excellent pool of scientific research talents, diverse and an inclusive business environment, as well as supportive government policy, Hong Kong has the potential to become an important hub for promoting innovation and technology,” said Jeff Zhang, chief technology officer of Alibaba Group, “The first batch of startups not only has innovative technologies and unique business ideas, they also offer insightful solutions to addressing key issues, including smart mobility and FinTech.”
“We truly believe, under the incubation of HKAI Lab and with the support from HKSTP, Innovation and Technology Bureau, Innovation and Technology Fund, SenseTime and Alibaba, startups in Hong Kong can have more room to grow, and together, we can elevate Hong Kong to become a hub for innovation and technology across the region.”
“SenseTime partners with Alibaba and HKSTP to help startups commercialize their technology projects and foster collaboration between the industry, academia and research sectors. To help promising startups at early stage, we provide all-round supports including funding, technology, network infrastructure and working space. With Hong Kong’s excellent business environment and international talent pool, HKAI Lab will facilitate innovations, attract more technology talents and companies, and create more opportunities for young people. We’re committed to contributing to the initiative of making Hong Kong an international innovation and technology hub,” said Prof. Xiao’ ou Tang, Founder of SenseTime.
HKSTP Chief Executive Officer Albert Wong said, “A.I. is a major technology focus for HKSTP and has the potential to disrupt various fields, from finance to social media, construction,logistics and many others. We are fostering a comprehensive platform to support A.I. development, offering infrastructure, data, testing, partnerships and other vital measures. Today, we are pleased to witness the expansion of the innovation and technology ecosystem of Hong Kong. The HKAI Lab showcases how partnerships between the government, industry, academia and research communities help fuel innovation and technology development. HKSTP will extend incubation support to the start-ups in the HKAI Lab acceleration programme through the Incu-Tech programme. We expect to groom 10 to 20 A.I. startups every year. Our ultimate goal is to make Hong Kong an A.I. solution hub.”
The first batch of startups in the program are focused on sectors including urban planning, influencer marketing, B2B solution, FinTech, property inspection and social networking:
- Arical– Arical empowers architects, urban planners and property developers through an A.I. cloud platform that instantly and automatically generates architectural design proposals from big data. Key Technology: Deep learning, computer vision, Natural Language Processing and knowledge graph.
- Cloudbreakr– Powered by machine learning, Cloudbreakr analyzed social data across platforms to help brands to analyze and optimize influencer marketing performance. Key Technology: Natural Language Processing and vision analysis.
- Dayta– A B2B A.I. solution provider that aims to create value-added intelligence for businesses, empowering SMEs with the power of machine learning at ease. Key Technology: Search and recommendation technology.
- Farseer– The company licenses proprietary big data and A.I. solutions in the form of SaaS and API for financial ecosystems primarily in the HK, China and US secondary markets. Key Technology: Natural Language Processing (Chinese) and big data.
- RaSpect– An A.I.-powered predictive inspection company for architecture with the aim to create a safer and smarter society. Key Technology: robotics, A.I. and IoT.
- Social Face – An intelligent platform in Hong Kong that provides live photo album service to help event organizers and attendees improve social networking efficiency and quality. Key Technology: Intelligent A.I. report, instant photo album sharing and smart network recommendation.
- Squared-S– AB2B FinTech company that provides A.I. driven solutions for investment and risk analysis to Financial Institutions. Key Technology: Portfolio optimization and risk management.
“HKAI Lab is Hong Kong’s first A.I. technology development platform powered by high-performance computer resources and deep learning. We hope the startups we’re incubating will lead in A.I. development and create more innovative solutions and applications,” said Timothy Leung, Executive Director of HKAI Lab. “We are looking forward to working with Hong Kong tertiary educational institutions, as well as private companies dedicated to strengthening their R&D investment. We hope to build HKAI Lab as a platform that connects the research, business and education sector. The aim is to significantly stimulate innovation and enhance Hong Kong’s competitiveness in the region.”
HKAI Lab’s Accelerator Program will offer two intakes every year, with about 8 to10 startups selected. Selected startups will be provided with series of cloud computing and A.I. resources support, including GPU-equipped high-performance computer resources from Alibaba Cloud, support from Alibaba DAMO Academy, a global research program created by Alibaba Group. At the same time, SenseTime will provide deep-learning platform and A.I. solutions to participating startups. In addition, they will receive advice from the Lab’s advisory board, which consists of leading A.I. scientists, entrepreneurs and experienced professors. Moreover, HKSTP will offer free working space and incubation support of its Incu-Tech program to participating startups.